By Leonard Kamugisha Akida,
World News: ANC staffers across the country are set to down tools from Thursday, having apparently reached a breaking point over unpaid wages.
“As workers of the African National Congress, in all of its offices throughout nine provinces, we have been forced to make a difficult decision of downing tools with effect from 26 August,” the disgruntled workers said in a statement on Wednesday night.
“This is due to the hard-line attitude taken by management, who continuously disregard concerns raised by staff members during a nationwide picket held in June.”
Workers claim the management made numerous verbal and written undertakings to address some of their demands by the end of August. They called on the party’s political leaders to urgently intervene.
“We demand all employees, who have been with the organisation for more than 18 months, to be deemed permanently employed… [and] our outstanding July and August salaries be immediately paid.”
They also want all contributions owed to the provident fund and UIF to be paid immediately.
“We are unfortunately forced to take action against this glorious movement of Oliver Tambo at a time when the movement politically is faced with numerous challenges.
“South Africa’s economy is experiencing an economic crisis manifested in the collapse of the rate in investment, economic growth, as well as the further deterioration of the standard of living of most South Africans. This unfortunate situation has not spared us, as ANC workers.”
Workers claim that escalating fuel prices, electricity and basic needs were affecting their families.
“We have tried to sustain this situation, but it is not sustainable anymore. It is unacceptable that we have been made scapegoats for the organisation’s financial mismanagement.
“As workers of this organisation, we have served the ANC with utmost dedication in ensuring that it executes the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) tasks and, as such, must be treated with dignity by the organisation.”
We call on all fellow staff members and members of the organisation to rally behind this action.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, in a letter on Tuesday, said the party regretted that the issue of late salary payments hadn’t been concluded and continued to persist.
In the letter, Duarte emphasised the party’s commitment to the process of consultation with elected staff representatives.
She added that ANC staff at all levels played a critical role in providing support to branches and regions, as well as to the regional and provincial list and vetting committees.
Attempts to obtain response from party spokesperson Pule Mabe were unsuccessful.